Tin Can Telecom
Tin Can Telecom Diagram

Tin Can Telecom is a web art project that makes use of wireless Internet frequencies (WiFi) and a modified Cantenna (description of cantenna below). The artwork acts as portable public announcement system that makes silent announcements to individuals seeking open wireless networks. Tin Can Telecom consists of a wireless web server that emits a wireless Internet access point open to the public. When someone chooses to connect to the Internet using the Tin Can Telecom network, they are automatically directed to a website that hosts a public service announcement devised by the artist.

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The Tin Can Telecom is best suited to be installed in locales where there are individuals using laptops that are potentially looking for open wireless Internet connections. The Artwork has been installed at a public library in Montreal and in the central meeting room at HTMLLes (feminist media arts festival in Montreal). In both instances, individuals had the opportunity to connect to a network called ‘~BaCk~PaIN~.’ When someone connects to this network, they are instantly directed to a series of hand drawn animations that illustrated techniques for achieving better posture while working with computers. When a new user connects to the network the physical antenna unit produces a ‘bleep bloop blip’ sound to indicate that someone is looking at the website. The Tin Can Telecom network is a closed network and does not connect to any outside websites.

Tin Can Telecom : Detail

WHAT IS A CANTENNA?

A Cantenna is a do-it-yourself antenna used to increase the range of a wireless network connection. It is made up of a couple electronic components (copper wire and a connector) and a tin can. It can be hooked up to a wireless Internet router therefore making the wireless network accessible at a further distance. It can also be hooked up to the network card on a computer and used as a way to tap into a wider range of wireless networks that a computer’s wireless antenna would not otherwise be able to pick up.

Cantennas are very popular amongst computer hobbyists. Amateur instructional videos and websites about how to build Cantennas can be found all over the Internet. Despite its popularity, the Cantenna has been outlawed in certain parts of the world as it is seen as a device used by hackers to ‘hijack’ unprotected networks. In Sacramento California it is illegal to have possession of a Cantenna.

Tin Can Telecom : Detail